Electricity

Electrical current is 230 volts, 50Hz. Standard European two-pin plugs are in use.

Language

Finnish and Swedish share status as Finlands official languages. Sami is spoken by an isolated population group in Lapland. English is taught at schools and is widely understood.

Money

The official currency of Finland is the euro (EUR), which is divided into 100 cents. Banks, ATMs and bureaux de change are available in all cities and airports; banks are closed on weekends. American Express, Diner's Club, Eurocard, Access, MasterCard and Visa are accepted in hotels, restaurants and larger shops. ATMs are the easiest and most economical way to get cash.

Tipping

Tips are not expected in Finland because a service charge is generally added to restaurant, bar and hotel bills, but customers often choose to round up the bill when paying in cash. Taxi drivers also appreciate any small change or coins that are added to round up the fare.

Health

There are no major health risks associated with travel to Finland, though everyone 12 years of age and older should get fully vaccinated for COVID-19 before visiting. EU nationals should ensure they have a European Health Insurance Card (EHIC), which entitles citizens to emergency medical treatment on the same terms as Finnish citizens. Comprehensive travel insurance is advised. After Brexit, the Global Health Insurance Card (GHIC) replaced the European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) for UK citizens. The GHIC allows UK citizens access to state healthcare during visits to the EU. The GHIC is not valid in Norway, Iceland, Liechtenstein or Switzerland, nor is it an alternative to travel insurance.

Safety

Crime levels are low in Finland and visitors can be assured of a trouble-free vacation. Drug offences and drinking and driving are dealt with very harshly. The main danger in the country is driving during the winter months, when icy roads are a hazard and cars must be fitted with snow tyres.

Local customs

The sauna is a Finnish way of life, so they are extremely popular. Words are taken seriously in Finland and people are held to what they say, so visitors should be sure of what they're saying before they speak.

Doing business

Business is conducted formally in Finland. A formal, understated sense of dress is important and being late is considered rude. Appointments should always be made and confirmed; meetings are often strictly business and are rarely over lunch. Finns do not require a strong relationship prior to doing business, with deals often taking place over the phone, fax, and via e-mail. However, the sauna is an important part of the culture and it is not unusual for business to be discussed in this environment if negotiations ever take place on a more sociable level.

Finns are very direct and prefer getting straight to the point; a verbal agreement may hold. Business cards are exchanged at meetings and should have, on the alternate side, details in Finnish. Business hours are generally 8am to 4pm Monday to Friday.

Duty free

Travellers arriving from the EU can enter Finland without restrictions on the quantity of purchases, provided they have been bought in the EU for personal consumption or as gift items. No restrictions are placed on meat and dairy products; some restrictions may apply to selected tobacco products. Travellers over 20 years arriving from non-EU countries are allowed to bring in the following items without incurring customs duty: 200 cigarettes, or 100 cigarillos, or 50 cigars, or 250g of tobacco. They can also bring in one litre of spirits with maximum 22 percent alcohol content, or two litres of alcoholic beverages not exceeding 22 percent alcohol content, as well as four litres of wine and 16 litres of beer.

Communications

The international country dialling code for Finland is +358. Free WiFi is available in hotels, cafes, restaurants, and similar establishments in all major towns and cities. There are free WiFi hotspots with high speed internet in Helsinki.

Passport & Visa

The borderless region known as the Schengen Area includes the following countries: Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, The Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden and Switzerland. All these countries issue a standard Schengen visa that has a multiple entry option, and which allows the holder to travel freely within the borders of all the aforementioned countries. It is highly recommended that travellers' passports have at least six months' validity remaining after the intended date of departure from their travel destination. Immigration officials often apply different rules to those stated by travel agents and official sources.

Entry requirements

US citizens must have a passport that is valid for three months beyond the period of intended stay in Finland. A visa is not required for a stay of up to 90 days in a 180 day period.

British passports endorsed 'British Citizen', 'British Subject' (containing a Certificate of Entitlement to the Right of Abode issued by the United Kingdom), and 'British Overseas Territories Citizen' issued by Gibraltar, only need to be valid for period of intended stay in Finland. All other endorsements require at least three months validity beyond the period of intended stay in Finland.

A visa is not required for passports endorsed 'British Citizen', 'British Subject' (containing a Certificate of Entitlement to the Right of Abode issued by the United Kingdom), and 'British Overseas Territories Citizen' issued by Gibraltar. No visa is required for stays of up to 90 days in a 180 day period for holders of passports with any other endorsement.

Holders of identity cards issued by Gibraltar authories, and endorsed 'Validated for EU travel purposes under the authority of the United Kingdom', do not require a visa to visit Finland.

Canadian citizens must have a passport that is valid for three months beyond the period of intended stay in Finland. A visa is not required for a stay of up to 90 days in a 180 day period.

Australian citizens must have a passport that is valid for three months beyond the period of intended stay in Finland. A visa is not required for a stay of up to 90 days in a 180 day period.

South African citizens must have a passport that is valid for three months beyond the intended period of stay, and a valid Schengen visa, to enter Finland.

Irish citizens must have a passport that is valid on arrival. No visa is required.

New Zealand citizens must have a passport that is valid for three months beyond the period of intended stay in Finland. A visa is not required for a stay of up to 90 days in a 180 day period.

Useful contacts

Helsinki Tourist Information, Helsinki: +358 (0)10 3101 3300 or www.visitfinland.com

112 (General)

Embassies / consulates in other countries

Embassy of Finland, Washington DC, United States: +1 (0)202 298 5800

Embassy of Finland, London, United Kingdom: +44 (0)20 7838 6200

Embassy of Finland, Ottawa, Canada: +1 (0)613 288 2233

Embassy of Finland, Canberra, Australia: +61 (0)2 6273 3800

Embassy of Finland, Pretoria, South Africa: +27 (0)12 343 0275

Embassy of Finland, Dublin, Ireland: +353 (0)1 478 1344

Consulate-General of Finland, Wellington, New Zealand: +64 (0)4 924 3416

Embassies / consulates in Finland

United States Embassy, Helsinki: +358 (0)9 616 250

British Embassy, Helsinki: +358 (0)9 2286 5100

Canadian Embassy, Helsinki: +358 (0)9 228 530

Australian Embassy, Helsinki: +358 (0)10 42 04 492

South African Embassy, Helsinki: +358 (0)9 6860 3100

Irish Embassy, Helsinki: +358 (0)9 682 4240

New Zealand Embassy, The Hague, Netherlands (also responsible for Finland): +31 (0)70 346 9324

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